Mexican Grilled Street Corn (Elotes) Salad

Grilled Mexican Street Corn Salad Elotes Recipe | @whiteonrice

The warmer weather has arrived and so has everything else that pairs with it: Summer grilling, potlucks, parties and lots and lots of sweet corn. Few foods say summer like fresh corn. Those sweet juicy kernels clustered around the cob pleading for someone to eat them. Last month we were wanting to cook more corn recipes for clients on-set and wanted to make a corn salad recipe that was easy to eat. Basically everyone loves corn so much and we all agreed that it’s easier to eat the kernels by the spoon-ful than to bite it off the cob. Besides, it’s much cleaner to shovel all the kernels in our mouths than to make a mess off the cob.

Grilled Mexican Street Corn Salad Elotes Recipe | @whiteonrice

grilled corn and cheese mixture is all it takes for this awesome salad

Grilled Mexican Street Corn Salad Elotes Recipe | @whiteonrice

Our solution was to make this wonderful Mexican grilled corn salad, which is essentially the de-kerneled version of the Mexican street corn-on-the-cob. Wow, everyone LOVED this recipe and on that day we had 10 eaters, and they all killed this salad. All the textures and flavors were truly wonderful and it’s not a surprise that Mexican street corn is such a hit. There’s so many recipes for Mexican street corn out there that it’s fun to see everyones different flavor profiles. Our version has lots of garlic and cilantro, which is what everyone loved so much.

Grilled Mexican Street Corn Salad Elotes Recipe | @whiteonrice

After making several versions of this Mexican street corn, both on the grill and just cooked on stovetop, we found that both tasted wonderful. Cooking the corn kernels on a cast iron pan, on the stove top actually gave a much sweeter flavor because it released some of the sweet corn juices. Both versions were well received and it’s going to be a definite regular on our lunch menus. We’re making it again this week for a bunch of garden parties because this Summer weather is screaming out for more corn.

A few years ago we actually tried growing our own corn and the results were ok. The ears didn’t get all that huge and the kernels didn’t fully develop. Maybe it needed more sun, or maybe it was the variety, but have any of you had success growing it in your garden? Any tips for us newbie corn growers out here in Southern California?

Happy Eating!

diane and todd

Grilled Mexican Street Corn Salad Elotes Recipe | @whiteonrice

Mexican Grilled Street Corn (ELOTES) Salad 

Yield: Serves 4

Total Time: 30 minutes

We shucked the corn for this salad version for easier serving when we have large parties. But you can certainly serve it the corn-on-the-cob. Just make the cheese mixture ahead of time. Then grill your corn and top it with the cheese mixture and extra cojita and cilantro! If you’re making this salad version, best flavor is if you cook it on a hot cast iron pan because you can get the char which gives great flavor.

For a stylish grilled corn on the cob (and for easier handling) just pull back the husks, but don't pull them all the way off.


  • 1/3 cup (80ml) sour cream or Mexican crema
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) finely crumbled cotija or feta cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3ml) smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3ml) chili powder, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) finely chopped cilantro leaves, and extra for garnish  (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 4 ears of corn, husked *see headnote
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 stalks of green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


  1. In bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cilantro and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Grilled Whole Corn-On-Cob Option: Heat grill on high heat or heat coals for direct grilling. Season husked corn with salt and pepper. Grill until nicely charred and tender all around.
  3. Sautéed De-Kerneled Corn Salad Option: Heat large skillet on medium high heat. Add olive oil, then add corn and green onions.  Cook corn until slightly charred and brown, around 5 minutes, just until the corn is plump and cooked. Transfer corn to a large bowl and allow to cool.
  4. For the grilled whole corn-on-the-cob, immediately after grilling, brush corn with sauce. If desired top with extra cheese, spices, sliced green onions, cilantro and serve with lime wedges.
  5. For sautéed corn salad option, pour cheese mixture over corn and gently stir until combined. Add extra cheese for topping, paprika or chili powder. You can add extra sliced green onion and cilantro for garnish. Serve with lime wedges. *Reminder* for this salad version, make sure to allow the kernels to cool completely. If not and you're adding the cheese sauce to hot corn kernels, you might end up with a cheesy corn soup/stew. Which isn't all that bad tasting either!
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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. hawaiianne

    Aloha and thank you for this recipe. Just made this with yogurt instead of sour cream, feta and grilled corn. I just need to get some limes for serving and will serve tomorrow. Tastes great tonight yet I am sure the spices will mingle overnight and be even better for lunch. Blessings, Anne

    1. Todd & Diane

      Fantastic idea with the yogurt. Thanks for letting us know!

  2. hawaiianne

    I love your emails when I get them. Just did grilled corn which i slathered with ume plum paste….Oh SO Good. I will save some of the kernels for a salad. Only have to get cilantro to have all of the ingredients. I am sure I will love it. I don’t have sour cream so I will use yogurt instead. Blessings, Anne

  3. bettytq

    Hi Diane,

    Am a member in a community garden and what I know about planting corn, have to shake the stalk once the flowers? come to aid in pollinating the cob and you get full, plump kernels. The flowers fall on the tassels. Someone told me to take out suckers much like in growing tomatoes so the energy goes into producing nice big cobs.

    They are also heavy feeders that is why planting pole beans along side the plants provide the corn plant with nitrogen and at the same time, the corn plant provide bean support.

    Sometimes, the variety also plays a role. Some are early maturing. The best variety I have ever grown is called MIRAI….so, so sweet!!!

  4. This is something I’m definitely trying. I love corn, I usually just bake it, but I am curious about this version.

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